Paws for a Purpose is rolling out a series of discounted parvovirus vaccinations clinics across Australia with the most recent having recently opened in Wagga Wagga.

The clinic will offer $15 parvovirus vaccinations or microchipping to pets owned by local concession card holders, including pensioners, Newstart recipients and health card holders.

Parvovirus is potentially fatal to dogs and sadly the most significant risk-factor for canine parvoviral disease in pet dogs is socioeconomic disadvantage. There are around 20,000 cases occurring annually across the country – hence the focus on localised, discounted vaccination clinics for concession card holders.

Co-founder of Paws for A Purpose, Dr Mark Kelman says that disadvantaged regions report more canine parvovirus cases and higher euthanasia rates – creating enormous heartbreak from the loss of puppies in those communities.

“Our focus now is to continue to widen our reach of vaccination clinics across Australia, building on successful efforts in Rockhampton and now Wagga Wagga, focussing on places where outbreaks have been identified by our parvo disease-surveillance website,” Dr Kelman says.

“Our research shows the highest canine parvovirus case numbers occur in rural and remote regions, which are also the most socio-economically disadvantaged.

“For example, in Rockhampton veterinarians recorded 233 canine parvovirus cases from 2016 to 2019 and in Wagga Wagga veterinarians recorded 420 canine parvovirus cases from 2014 to 2017.

“But actual cases are likely to be much higher than these reports, as many cases don’t get to vet clinics, which is why our new website is so vital to help identify areas where we need to concentrate our vaccination efforts.

“Given that rainfall is an identified risk factor for outbreaks of canine parvovirus, we are very concerned that the deluge of rain affecting Eastern Australia could lead to severe parvovirus outbreaks.”

Local Wagga Wagga veterinarian, Dr Ebony Schoenfeld, says the clinics are offering parvo vaccines at a significant discount to protect the pets of people in the community who may not normally be able to do so.

“Parvovirus is a horrific disease that not only kills puppies and young adult dogs, but also causes awful suffering in the meantime. It is highly distressing for owners to lose their companion pets in this manner,” says Dr Schoenfeld.

“This discounted vaccination program will help pet owners to fully vaccinate their puppies and maintain yearly boosters for adult dogs against parvovirus, and in doing so, protect them from a potentially painful death.

“Even if your dog never leaves your property, this virus can live in the environment for years, and can be brought onto your property on your shoes or car tyres. That’s why vaccinating our entire canine community is so important.”